Category Archives: Exhibits

Inspiration for Paper Dresses

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden introduced first in 1990 while chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was then signed into law on September 13, 1994 by President Clinton. One of the ways of acknowledging this important anniversary in the wake of the Ray Rice awfulness is through a “book object” that I am making to exhibit at Paper Dresses. 

The “book object” is a large clamshell box that holds 40 paper origami dresses. Each dress will be stenciled with a line of text from various fact sheets about domestic violence, magazine and newspaper articles, tweets and selections from Half the Sky, an incredible book by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. You’ll have to come to the exhibit to see it. I’ll be posting some of the dresses with their text in the next week or so as the exhibit becomes even closer.

MiniOrigamiDresses2

 

In addition to this book object, on September 25th when the exhibit Paper Dresses opens at PRESS, the exhibit will showcase other work that uses the dress as the common form that links women around the world together.

The exhibit will feature an incredible print exchange that had women from the Berkshires, Australia, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Pennsylvania printing and folding paper into lovely little origami dresses. There will be wearable paper dresses that directly explore the idea of freedom and confinement through typography and paper, as well as two-dimensional drawings and prints related to what it means to be a woman right here right now.

Remember Women hold up half the sky, Chinese Proverb.

 

Corita

Corita.

Learning By HeartI first became acquainted with Corita Kent shortly after graduating from college with a Bachelor’s in Art Education and a K-12 art-teaching certificate. Someone gave me her book book Learning By Heart as a graduation present. I didn’t really understand her impact in the art world at that time. But I did understand the impact her way of teaching and inspiring young people as portrayed in this book and I wanted to be just like her. I would dip into the book from time to time for ideas and inspiration.

I came across her work again in 2009 while visiting Los Angeles. I visited the Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels and was delighted to see an exhibit of her serigraphs and watercolors. Upon my return out came the book and a review of all things Corita. Including her rules:

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I try to abide by these, especially #7 and #9. But lately I’ve been thinking of another thing she said. “There is no art. We do everything as best we can.” She began saying this after extensive research of Indonesian and other Southeast Asian country languages where there is no word for art. There is create, make, design, draw. But no art. (I haven’t fact-checked that.)

But it reminds me of something that Nate Padavick said to my students once. “Make everything you do the best thing you’ve ever done.”

I kept thinking about all of this when I got the chance to see Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent at the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art. The show was originally organized by the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from me, but I missed it there. Luckily, I was able to see the show while visiting my family. And it did not disappoint.

The highlight was a Cleveland-only viewing of the Beatitudes Banner that she made for the 1964 Worlds Fair. It is owned by the United Church of Christ National Offices which are located in Cleveland and features quotations from Pope John XXIII and President John F. Kennedy. Read more about this amazing piece here.

My mom reading all the quotes on the Beatitudes piece.

My mom reading all the quotes on the Beatitudes piece.

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Spending time with the Beatitudes work as well as watching all the primary footage of Corita giving talks and working with her students highlighted the viewing of this show. But, I also brought my nieces and nephew with me. They immediately went to the activity that greeted us in the entry way. Perhaps one day I will write a critical review of the exhibit. Stay tuned.

The nieces and nephew hard at work

The nieces and nephew hard at work

Me with my one of my niece's Stefanie and my nephew AJ.

Me with my one of my niece’s Stefanie and my nephew AJ.

Sample prayer-flag/calls to action

Sample prayer-flag/calls to action

Stamps/Carvings to use on one's creation

Stamps/Carvings to use on one’s creation

 

The Scrap Bag Challenge

April is always a busy month for me. It’s pretty much the last month of the school year–so that means advising for the fall, senior art show, getting ready for graduation, etc. etc. I also have the following:

  • Three major print projects to complete right now–two of which are due by April 30th.
  • A very sick cat that I am trying to keep alive
  • Fulbright Application
  • Planning/finalizing the PRESS schedule of exhibits for the summer

So what do I do? I volunteer to partake in Crispina’s Scrap Box Challenge. Seriously. I am nuts. What is a Scrap Box Challenge? Here’s what Crispina said in her invite:

Here's my box of scraps from Crispina's Studio

Here’s my box of scraps from Crispina’s Studio

Let me inspire you to marvelousness.

I’ll send you a bag of fabric scrap from the studio.
You turn that bag of scrap into something marvelous! You can use any technique you’d like. Take pictures and post your progress here on Facebook.
Send images of your finished work to me by April 15 and be featured in my first ever virtual Earthday Art/Craft Show at www.crispina.com

 

My initial goal was to make one thing from all of my scraps–preferably something functional. When I unpacked them I realized that was not going to happen. I have random sweater scraps as well as some brown wool strips from an old shirt. I fused and sewed the brown strips back together to make this fab skirt.

Scrap Parallel14 Scrap Parallel15 Scrap Parallel17

 

 

 

 

And now I have all of these scraps remaining.Scrap Parallel18 I’ve gotta do something with them by April 15th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know I want to make little bird sculptures. I’ve been wanting to do that for ages. And I’m also going to make some pillow covers or “quilt drawings/collages”, I think, thanks to inspiration from artist Karen Anne Glick. Karen lives in Carlisle, PA. I am discovering her because she is also part of the Scrap Bag Challenge. I wish she lived closer. She seems to be doing some similar things with her art practice as I do. I would love to chat with her. Check out her quilted drawings. She worked to make one of these a day in 2012 and then wrote something to go along with them. Sounds a lot like my mantra cards, right? She’s my new favorite artist.

Anyways. Follow the Scrap Bag Challenge on Facebook to see what others are doing.  And maybe I’ll post a few more creations later in the week.

 

Exeter, NH

I am in Exeter, New Hampshire for the opening of On and Off the Page.

I arrived yesterday and by-passed small talk and other conversation to check on my calendars and to begin getting the entries from my little book into the calendar. As per usual, I have completely underestimated the amount of time it will take me to update. I completed 10 days yesterday in about 35 minutes. I have like 20 more to go! And I will be doing that today, in the gallery, so if you are in Exeter, maybe you’ll get lucky to see me in action.

me_exeter_calendar_update

I’m anticipating meeting with students today, and am very interested to hear what they will ask me. I know one question is how do I decide what to put in the calendar. I’m confronting that right now, because the book I am using is much larger than the little rectangles on the year-format. Things I consider–self-censorship, is there a bigger picture I want to paint, will something mean more in the future than right this second. Sometimes I think to hard about it, and realize how much time has passed and I do whatever comes to my head first.

omg_what are they reading?

What are they looking at? I can’t wait to find out what draws people into these diaries.

Here are a couple pics of the install. I will post more later today or tomorrow. Click for a bigger image.

 

On and Off the Page begins at Exeter Academy

Tomorrow, September 9th, On and Off the Page begins at Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy. ALL of my calendars, THE calendars, including this current year, will be on display.

That’s NINETEEN.

Yes, I have managed to pretty much maintain this daily documentation of my life for nineteen years. It’s hard to describe my feelings when I left them on August 16th. Don’t know this part of my artistic practice? Go HERE.

  • Nervousness: were they going to be okay without me.
  • Trust: were they going to be okay without me.
  • Fear: were they going to be okay without me.

Really, was I/am I okay without them. (Can you imagine how I would be if I had children? Seriously, these are only pieces of paper, right?) While they are away, I am continuing the practice of creating an entry for the previous day in the morning while I drink my coffee. I am using a Moleskin sketchbook and when I go to Exeter for the opening on September 20th, I will arrive the day before so I can enter the past days into the calendar. If you are in the Exeter area the morning of the 20th, come to the gallery to see me update the actual calendar.

From now until the end of the exhibit, I’ll be posting the daily calendar entry to this blog. If you go to the exhibit, there will be a QR code for you to scan to bring you to this blog.

Here are the past 23 days:

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In the 23 days since I left them, I have thought of something I wanted to check nearly everyday, for example, what year did I ___________? What was that time of that walk? What weekend were we in New York? That being said, I’m excited to share all of them. And the installation of them might surprise us all. Rumor has it they are going to be hung in the middle of the gallery so you the visitor can walk through them like you are walking through time. I can’t wait to see them.

The opening is Friday, September 20th from 6:30-8 pm. If you find yourself in the Boston/Portsmouth area do come or come Saturday, September 21st for the artist talks at 10 am.

I am honored to be in an exhibit with such incredible artists. They are:

Peter Beaman and Elizabeth Whitely will exhibit Deck of Cards, a collection of 52 cards that visually and texturally describe a spring day in Pittsburgh. (I love this deck and remember seeing it at a Pyramid Atlantic event while in grad school or somewhere along the way and have fantasized about making something like it ever since.

Lesley Dill. I’ve made pilgrimages to see Lesley Dill’s work, gone to conferences because she was the keynote speaker, and look to her as a role-model for artistic practice and being in the world.

Liz Maugans who is Zygotes Press co-founder of an amazing printshop in Cleveland–where I am from originally. I CANNOT wait to meet her. OMG.

Juan Manuel Echavarría, an artist whose work I am learning, and look forward to seeing in person. I am particularly interested in La “O” and Requiem NN. On his website, Requiem NN is displayed as a massive grid–the kind of overall installation that draws me across galleries to examine.

I know my friend Leslie Ferrin would love Maureen Mills ceramic work. Her integration of text onto the three-dimensional form will be a sight to see!

Lisa Occhipinti creates sculptures out of books that mix color, form and texture, but she also makes book portraits by playing with pages, heads and tails of books, foredges in ways that create identities. Like so many book object works, best seeing in person–yet she captures the essence in her photographs, a definite feat!

Nicola Vruwink will not be at the opening, but her work transports me back to my youth and making mixed tapes for friends and family. She uses that tape to construct phrases and text through knitted and crocheted forms.

What a line-up. You know you want to see this show. I don’t know how I am going to make it until September 19th when I get to see it. Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 

Ruth Laxson. Biking. Rilke.

I just returned from 10 glorious days south of the Mason-Dixon Line in sunny Georgia. Doug and I drove the 1000+ miles with our bicycles through snowstorms for a week of incredible mountain biking at Mulberry Gap in the Georgia Mountain Bike Capital Ellijay. But before we took to our bikes, we spent a weekend with my brother and his family in Atlanta. What fun to see him and his two boys.

Country mouse in the big city, I had to make time to check out two amazing art exhibitions. Ruth Laxson–one of my favorite contemporary artists– at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and Frida and Diego at the High. I knew about the Laxson exhibit, Hip Young Owl, and learned about Frida and Diego from the billboards lining the highway as we drove into the city.

And not only was it a glorious day of art, when we arrived at MOCA, Ruth Laxson was leaving, so I got to meet and talk with her a bit before viewing the exhibit.

Meeting Ruth Laxson

Meeting Ruth Laxson

Laxson is a well-known book artist and printmaker in certain circles. I discovered her work in grad school. She came into her own in her 60′s. She’s now 89 and shows no sign of stopping!

Pasted into one of Laxson's sketchbooks.

Pasted into one of Laxson’s sketchbooks.

Text, texture, image, thread, mail, dots, paper and commentary on the human condition define her work. Her newest series, drawings entitled God Doll’s, drew me into her visual language. Her use of repetition, automatic writing as texture yet also an important part of her composition–a framing device, a ground, a form–the figure, not as we know it, but as it forms from the shapes, textures and marks she creates. There’s a freeness and openness to these figures that brings me to her world. When looking at her work, those who know my work understand immediately why I love this artist’s creations.

What I did not know was the role of mail art in Laxson’s career. In the 1980s she participated in numerous mail art exchanges and did so for many years. She even has a series of mail art post boxes that were included in the exhibit. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll be like her when I’m 89. I got my press at 41, she got hers at 63. So maybe there’s hope for me!

Here are some of my favorite images from the exhibit:

After a couple of hours of soaking in all that is Hip, we headed over to the High to see the Frida and Diego exhibit. Many of the paintings on view were ones that I had never seen. It focused a bit more on Diego than Frida, including many of his earliest paintings, paintings when he hadn’t found his own visual language and was still copying that of Picasso, Cezanne and other artists at the start of the 20th century. Many of the pieces in the exhibit were not only new to me but also zeroed in on Frida and Diego’s tumultuous relationship. In spite of their many ups and downs, she made this wonderful little piece for him in honor of their 15th wedding anniversary. It was one of my favorite images in the entire exhibit.

Frida's gift to Diego in honor of their 15th wedding anniversary.

Frida’s gift to Diego in honor of their 15th wedding anniversary.

Of course Doug and I had to take part in the camp that often surround Frida and Diego.

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But regardless, this day of art, then time with my little brother and his family, followed by an incredible week of mountain biking keeps me thinking about this Rilke writing from March 14th in A Year with Rilke.

Praise the World
Praise the world to the angel: leave the unsayable aside. 
Your exalted feeling do not move him.
In the universe he inhabits you are a novice. 
Therefore show him what is ordinary, what has been
shaped from generation to generation, shaped by hand and eye.
Tell him of things. He will stand still in astonishment,
the you stood by the ropemaker in Rome
or beside the potter on the Nile. 
Show him how happy a thing can be, ho innocent and ours, 
how even a lament takes pure form,
serves as a thing, dies as a thing,
wile a violin, blessing it, fades.
 
And the things, even as they pass,
understand that we praise them.
Transient, they are trusting us
to save them–us, the most transient of all.
As if they wanted in our invisible hearts
to be transformed
into—oh, endlessly—into us. 
                                   From the Ninth Duino Elegy

Eye-candy exhibits that I want to see this year

But alas, it will be impossible to see some of them, due to their location and timing.

Still, at least I can vicariously see some of them through catalogs and websites. And I can’t wait.

Ruth Laxson’s Hip Young Owl

Ruth Laxson, Hip Young Owl, Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta (I just saw this over the weekend. More about it in a future post!)
 
Life’s Work, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA
 
Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum, Closing August 4
 
James Turrell at the Guggenheim, New York, June 21-September 25
 
Balthus: Cats and Girls at the Met, New York, September 2013-January 2014
 
Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet, Cloisters, New York, September 10-December 8 (The link here takes you to a review of the installation documentation on the artist’s website.)
 
Paul Klee at the Tate Modern, London, October 15, 2013- March 9, 2014
 

Woodshed 2013

100 Hours in the Woodshed is a biannual event hosted by Danny O at MCLA’s Gallery 51. This is my third year as a participant. It begins with an opening reception/meet the artists from 5-7 pm on Thursday night, followed by three hours of art-making. We all leave around 10 pm and return on Friday and Saturday at 10 am working until 10 pm. Sunday we come back for eight more hours, again beginning at 10 am and this day working until 6 pm. At that point we strike the set, break down the tables, pile up the art and wait.

Monday, Ryder Cooley, G51′s new gallery manager and Susan Cross, MASS MoCA curator come onto the scene to curate the exhibit, and then it gets installed. Tuesday, like in two days Tuesday, the show opens to the public, from 5-7 pm. Hope to see you there!!

Please come. Please come to see the book I made. And the other stuff too, but I love this little book. I love everything I made. I haven’t been this excited by work I’ve made in ages. The book uses a structure that Alisa Golden is trying to get everyone who makes it call it the Australian Piano Hinge instead of Flat-Style Australian Reverse Piano Hinge binding. I agree with her. I saw the instructions for this on her blog and have been wanting to make it, and this weekend allowed me that opportunity.

Back of the book QUEST

Back of the book QUEST

Quest pages 1-2

Quest pages 1-2

QUEST pages 3-4

QUEST pages 3-4

QUEST pages 5-6

QUEST pages 5-6

QUEST pages 7-8

QUEST pages 7-8

Two important things happened for me this weekend.

1. It was confirmed to me, something that I already know and have read in countless books on creativity, that inspiration doesn’t just happen. Sure there are those moments of insight, but regular, focused work breeds inspiration. By the time I reached 29 hours into the event, two big huge connections happened. One–that one of the things I am doing in the collages that I really like is pairing the flat with the dimensional. This opened up a huge flood of visual connections and the opportunity to create more mindfully. Two, that the way to bring the God thing that I sort of haphazardly stab at here and there is by going back to the pages and pages of notes and writing that I did while earning my Master’s in Religion at Yale–and picking out text from that writing instead of the more cliche attempts that I’ve been making lately.

2. I am ready to move forward from events of two years ago. (If you know, you know. If you don’t–well, just know that I was very sad two years ago, and that sadness is really, finally and completely lifting. Don’t ask me about it.) While the raven will still be seen from time to time, there is a lightness emerging in my color and image choice that I haven’t seen in years. I even am consciously choosing to work with yellow. Unheard of for me. (Not that you will see it in this imagery, just trust me.)

Here’s the other work I made. I’m thinking it would be very much fun to cancel classes tomorrow, stay home and continue working, but I know I won’t be able to give into that urge. But maybe another day this week…

The work ist better in person–the light wasn’t so great today for these pics. I’ll do my best to update with clearer ones, so come on Tuesday so you get the best view!

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I shall be released

I shall be released

Six collages, the top middle one is my favorite.

Six collages, the top middle one is my favorite.